Volume 30 Number 50
                 Produced: Tue Dec 28  7:27:33 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Avi Feldblum]
"Anonymous" Poskim (2)
         [Rabbi Shmuel Jablon, Carl Singer]
Economist paper on Kollel in Israel - URL
         [Avi Feldblum]
Mazal Tov!
         [Rabbi Shmuel Jablon]
Sunrise, Sunset, Solstice (4)
         [Joshua Sharf, Robert Israel, Richard Schultz, Kenneth H.
Ryesky, Esq.]


From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 1999 06:48:10 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Administrivia

Hello again,

I would like to take this administrivia opportunity to remind/tell people
about the mail-jewish home page. It is located at
http://www.shamash.org/mail-jewish. Among the items on the web page are:

A nice web enabled archive of the mail-jewish volumes since volume 18.
This site, maintained by Barry Friedman, contains a search engine that
will do full text searches of volumes 18-30, has pages for each volume
that contains an alphabetic table of contents with links to the issues,
and has each issue in the volume "webified" so you can click on the
subject header and get taken directly to that submission.

A simple file archive of all the issues in plain text version, so you can
download any issues you may want to have.

A simple text file that contains the full alphabetic index to the table of
contents for all volumes of mail-jewish (1-30).  I'm looking at enhancing
this file, so that the volume/issue listed will link to the specific
volume and issue on the archive site.

A collection of some longer articles that have been submitted over the
years for listproc and web access, including a collection of material
related to Rav Yosef Dov Soloveichik.

A link to the Kosher Restaurant Database, where you can search for kosher
restaurants all around the world. 

I've looked over the home page and tried to make sure all the links are
working correctly, my plans are to try and improve this page over the next
several weeks. As always, I am open to suggestions from the list members.

Avi Feldblum
mail-jewish Moderator


From: Rabbi Shmuel Jablon <rabbij@...>
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 1999 12:14:28 -0800
Subject: "Anonymous" Poskim

> While sending in a question to mail-jewish, I began to wonder whether
> anyone knew of rabbis or other sources who are willing to take
> "anonymous" questions are give a psak halacha over the internet. By
> "anonymous" I don't even necessarily mean that the asker must remain
> unknown, although I could see uses for that. I meant more for people who
> lived far away from Jewish communities, people who didn't have any local
> posek they feel comfortable going to, etc.
> It seems like, with the rise of the internet, there must be someone out
> there doing this!

There are internet sites where one can get rabbinic guidance.  I
participate in "ask a rabbi" on Jewish.com.  Interested people can
choose the "kind of rabbi" they want, and the questions are forwarded.
Most of what I receive are basic questions that even a Rav who is not a
posek can either answer or refer to poskim.  I have found this is a
really valuable way to connect with Jews literally world wide (I've had
questions from a US soldier in Korea who wanted to me more observant, a
girl in San Paulo who wanted to ask "mechila" from a deceased friend, a
man in San Francisco who needed to find kosher tzitizit, etc. etc.) in
need of help.  For some questioners, this is the only contact they've
every had with an Orthodox rabbi.

Kollel Eretz Hemda has a very active ask-a-rabbi section where one can
receive piskei halacha on a wide variety of issues.  They've published
three seforim of their faxed shey'lot (These were reviewed by their
Chair, Rav Shaul Yisraeli zt"l).  The OU has a "Ask the Vebbe Rebbe"
section for Kashrut questions.  I also know that Or Sameyach has a "ask
the rabbi" section.

Like most anything else, the internet has the ability to provide the
absolute lowest of the low...But I do think that this is a way that we
can use modern technology to provide the highest of the high.

Rabbi Shmuel Jablon
Visit my new homepage!:  www.rabbijablon.com
Send an e-fax!: 810-314-2515

[Other sites sent in by listmembers:
Ohr Sameach (http://www.ohr.org.il) (mailto:<ohr@...>)
Genesis Project (http://www.torah.org). 
"Ask the Rabbi" at (http://www.ou.org)


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Dec 1999 07:25:27 EST
Subject: Re: "Anonymous" Poskim

Anonymous Questions are antithetical to the halachic process, because
they omit the source and circumstances (context) of the question a hand
and they violate an halachic issue which, for want of a better term,
I'll call "jurisdiction."

These circumstances can include issue of the asker's individual
circumstances and standards, community standards and circumstances, and
a myriad of other factors that a serious posik must consider.  The
jurisdictional issues often involve syngagogue or community or
"national" standards.

In short both the "right" person to answer a question and the "right"
answer will vary due to several complex parameters.

Yes, someone might anonymously answer certain limited questions of
direct fact, such as is plony a kosher food additive -- and here
complexity may require some dialog -- and more questions, to establish
the exact metziah - findings of fact - prior to answering.  But even
with this example, change the question from "is plony a kosher food
additive" to "may I eat food which lists plony on the label" and we have
a not only a different question but one which may need to be asked of
different posik.

All that the Rebono Shel HaOlem allows man to invent and build can be
used for the good, and clearly the internet can fall into that category
as a great communication engine -- but it's misuse can undermine the
halachik process.

Gut Voch

Carl Singer


From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 1999 13:24:00 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Economist paper on Kollel in Israel - URL

A few people asked for the URL for the following paper, after I
mentioned it in an earlier posting. Here it is.

Sect, Subsidy and Sacrifice: An Economist's View of Ultra-Orthodox Jews,
September, 1999. Forthcoming in the Quarterly Journal of

Here is the URL's:
Abstract only: http://econ.bu.edu/eli/papers/snsa2ab.htm
Full paper:    http://econ.bu.edu/eli/papers/snsa2.pdf 

Avi Feldblum
mail-jewish Moderator


From: Rabbi Shmuel Jablon <rabbij@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Dec 1999 07:50:25 -0800
Subject:  Mazal Tov!

"Hodu LaShem Ki Tov, Ki L'Olam Chasdo!"

With gratitude to Hashem, we are excited to announce the birth of our
daughter, Shirah Emunah Jablon.  She was born at about 2:15 a.m., 18
Tevet, 5760...December 27, 1999.  Imma, Shirah, Abbah, and big sister
Leah are all, thank G-d, doing well.

May we always share in simchas together!

Rabbi Shmuel and Becky Jablon
Visit my new homepage!:  www.rabbijablon.com
Send an e-fax!: 810-314-2515


From: Joshua Sharf <jsharf@...>
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 1999 11:58:45 -0700
Subject: Sunrise, Sunset, Solstice

> From: Joel Ehrlich <ehrlich@...>

> Why do the latest sunrise, earliest sunset, and shortest day all occur
> separately?  For example, this year in New York, the earliest sunset was
> at 4:29 PM on about Dec 7; the latest sunrise is about Dec. 30 at 7:20
> AM; and the shortest Sha'a Zmanit (46 min., 16 sec) was, by definition,
> on the winter solstice, Dec. 21.  A similar pattern occurs around the
> summer solstice as well.  I would have assumed that these three events
> would all occur on the same day, the solstice, but apparently sunrise
> and sunset are "out of phase".  Can anyone provide an astronomical
> explanation for this?

The simple explanation is that the earth is not actually closest to the
sun at the moment of solstice.  The solstice is not when the sun is
closest to the earth, but when the south pole is pointed most directly
towards the sun.  Since the events do not coincide, there is a short
period of time when sunset and sunrise are both slowly getting later.
This happens both in the winter and summer after their respective

 From a geo-centric point of view, you can see this happen.  If you
trace the sun's path on the earth over the course of a year, it forms a
figure-8, not a straight line.  At the moment of summer solstice, the
sun is tracing a westward path on the earth.  It's not moving southward
at all, but it is moving westward.  So both sunset and sunrise will get
later, until the southward motion becomes significant.

Joshua Sharf

From: Robert Israel <israel@...>
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 1999 14:33:20 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: Sunrise, Sunset, Solstice

It's because of the "Equation of Time".  This is the difference between
12:00 noon (as measured on a clock keeping the correct "solar time" for
your longitude) and the time when the sun actually crosses the meridian
(the north-south line in the sky that goes directly overhead).  This
varies for two reasons:
 1) the sun's path in the sky (the ecliptic) is tilted relative to the
equator, so motion at constant speed around the ecliptic would not
correspond to a constant speed around the equator
 2) the speed around the ecliptic is not constant, because the earth's
orbit is elliptical: it is faster near perihelion (when the earth is
closest to the sun, which is on January 3) and slower near aphelion when
the earth is farthest away.

The combination of these two effects means that the time the sun takes
to go from the meridian one day to the meridian the next day varies.  In
late December it is about 30 seconds longer than 24 hours.  This makes
sunrise and sunset on December 22 about 30 seconds later than on
December 21.  So the latest sunrise comes after the solstice, and the
earliest sunset comes later.  The dates these occur depend on latitude.

For more information, see "The Dark Days of Winter", at

Robert Israel                                <israel@...>
Department of Mathematics        http://www.math.ubc.ca/~israel 
University of British Columbia            
Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z2

From: Richard Schultz <schultr@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Dec 1999 07:06:02 +0200
Subject: Sunrise, Sunset, Solstice

A clear and detailed explanation of this phenomenon can be found in the
essay "The Time is Out of Joint" by Isaac Asimov, which is found in his
collection _Far as Eye Could See_.

Briefly, the reasons that the earliest sunset is before the winter
solstice and the latest sunrise is after are that the earth's orbit
around the sun is not perfectly circular and that the earth's axis is
tilted with respect to the plane of its orbit.  Because the earth's
orbit is not perfectly circular, when it is closest to the sun (in
January), it is moving faster than when it is furthest from the sun (in
July).  That means that in January, the time from noon to noon will be
longer than in July, because the earth has to rotate further to face the
sun since it has moved further in its orbit.

Because the earth's axis is tilted with respect to the plane of its
orbit, the sun's apparent motion relative to the stars has a north-south
component as well as a west-east one.  That means that near the
equinoxes, when the sun is crossing the "celestial equator" (i.e. the
projection of the plane of the earth's orbit onto the celestial sphere),
the sun's apparent east-west motion is slower than at the solstices,
when the sun's apparent motion is more nearly parallel to the celestial
equator.  That's just another way of saying that the time from noon to
noon will be longer at either solstice than at either equinox.

The two effects are not in phase, so the actual time from noon to noon
(or sunrise to sunrise) even at the equator will vary during the year.
Thus, while the solstice (when the sun is furthest south relative to the
stars) is the shortest day, the earliest sunset and latest sunrise will
occur a couple of weeks on either side of the solstice.

					Richard Schultz

From: Kenneth H. Ryesky, Esq. <khresq@...>
Date: Sat, 25 Dec 1999 23:07:25 -0500
Subject: Sunrise, Sunset, Solstice

What appears from our perspective as the sun rising in the east and
setting in the west is in fact a function of the earth's rotation.  As
any given location on the earth enters the earth's own shadow from the
sun's light, it is perceived by us as the "sunset"; and conversely, as
that location exits the earth's own shadow, it is perceived by us as the

The summer solstice (for the Northern Hemisphere) is when the sun's
light goes the furthest north and the winter solstice when the sun's
light goes the furthest south.  The spring and autumn equinoxes are when
the sun's strongest midday light is directly above the equator, between
the solstices.

If the earth's orbit around the sun were a perfect circle, then the
latest sunrise, earliest sunset and shortest day of the year would all

But the earth's orbit around the sun is NOT a perfect circle, it is an
ellipse.  Therefore, the earth's actual distance from the sun is
continually changing (as is that of every other planet, and as is the
orbit of the moon around the earth).  Moreover, because the earth's axis
is not perpendicular to the plane of its orbit around the sun, the
portion of the earth which receives the sun's rays is continually
changing.  THerefore, the shadow which the earth casts upon itself
(i.e., the portion of the earth which is on the far side of the sun) has
several parameters.  The shadow is a function of angle of the sun and
distance from the sun, and the two are independent of one another.

That is why the latest sunrise, earliest sunset and shortest day of the
year do not necessarily coincide.

-- Ken Ryesky
P.O. Box 926 ; East Northport, NY  11731
631/266-5854 (vox) ; 631/266-3198 (fax)
E-mail:  <khresq@...>


End of Volume 30 Issue 50